This primer’s all about reigning it in.READ MORE
Erik Prowell’s path to apparel started with a bottle of beer. Working as a software engineer, the Oregon native found himself playing around with graphics programs when he wasn’t crafting lines of code. And though he was itching to get his creations onto T-shirts, it wasn’t until he had a cold one with an old friend—who, turns out, was also doing design-dabbling on the side—that he decided to launch a line of tees, No Star.
That clothing-world initiation just made Erik hungrier for more: While attending tradeshows for No Star, Erik realized he wanted to move beyond creating what’s on the T-shirts and into developing the pieces themselves. So, landing on a Japanese-meets-Scandinavian aesthetic, he dreamt up Bridge & Burn, which he started in 2009 with a single, need-informed focus: no-nonsense men’s jackets. “I would see pieces that I loved that were ruined by extra zippers or detailing,” he says. Outerwear is still at its core, but through the years, Bridge & Burn has transformed into a full mens- and womenswear line, with a downtown-Portland flagship.
The company’s name is a nod to an early T-shirt graphic of a match-lit bridge, a sayonara to Erik’s days spent behind a computer. And although that era’s pretty far behind him now, the problem-solving mindset is still there. “There are multiple ways to write a program that does the same thing,” Erik explains. “But there are definitely approaches that are more elegant—I think you use the same brain process when you’re designing.” —jiayi ying